Chula Vista boxer closing in on Olympic spot in Tokyo

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CHULA VISTA, Calif. — Andrea Medina stands just one tournament away from punching her way to the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. The Chula Vista native earned one of 13 spots to represent Team USA at the upcoming qualification events.

“If I get that spot, I’m an Olympian — an official Olympian — so that’s very exciting and I just can’t wait until the time comes,” Medina said.

The 125-pound featherweight earned a silver medal at the Olympic Trials in December, the first stage of the qualification process.

“Silver’s not bad at all,” Medina said. “I was very proud of my performances.”

After several weeks at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Medina then flew more than 6,500 miles to Sofia, Bulgaria, for stage two, where she finished runner-up. Based off point accumulation and coach assessments, she outscored her opponents to earn a spot on the Olympic boxing qualification team.

“Performing at that level since it was my first international tournament, I felt like I was on top of the world,” Medina said. “Once I got that call, I was with my dad in the room, we put it on speaker and they said I was their 57-kilo women’s boxer. So that meant everything to me and my family. It’s here. We’re ready to go.”

Medina has two chances left to officially punch her ticket to Tokyo. She needs a top-three finish at her next tournament in March, which will be held in Argentina. If she doesn’t qualify there, one final opportunity will come in Paris in May, where she would need a top-five finish to compete at the Olympics.

“What I’ve learned from myself is that I’m always capable of more,” she said. “I seem to always not settle, but I prove to myself that I can do way more.”

Competing at the Olympics has long been a dream for this 20-year-old who says she plans to go pro and finish school when things settle down.

“It’s been a struggle,” she said. “It’s not easy, but everything that I did has come to this point, and it’s all paid off.”

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